New windows installation and language change
April 7, 2014 3:28 AM   Subscribe

My company currently has a computer that has a Japanese version of Windows 7 Professional installed on it. We want to install an English language version of Windows 8.1 on the computer. Will the language for the Microsoft Office software (currently also Japanese) already installed on the computer also change to English when we change to the new English language version of Windows 8.1?

I work for a company in Japan that has a mix of Japanese and foreign staff. We have a computer that was being used by a Japanese staff member, and so it has a Japanese language version of Windows 7 Professional installed on it, along with Microsoft Office 2010, which also displays everything in Japanese at the moment.

A different staff member, who is a native English speaker, is going to start using the computer, and we want to switch the operating system and Office language to English.

As far as I can tell, this isn't possible to do with the version of Windows that we have, and requires an upgrade to a different version of Windows. It looks like Microsoft isn't selling Windows 7 anymore, so we're planning on upgrading to an English language version of 8.1

(I myself use Windows 8.1 and have no problem with it, I showed it to my coworker and he's ok with it, so we don't need advice on whether or not Windows 8 is a good OS or not, thanks)

Anyway, my main question is, when we upgrade the Japanese language version of Windows 7 to an English language version of Windows 8.1, will the Office 2010 software that is already installed, and currently displaying all menus in Japanese, switch to English as well, or is there something else we'll need to do to get Office working in English?

posted by tokaidanshi to Technology (5 answers total)
Generally with administration settings in system you can change the system language.

I know windows has had this option on many many previous versions. You may be able to just do a reinstall if the Japanese version and select English.

For the office suite, I'm not sure. It depends how it was programmed. But I don't see a reason why you couldn't install an English version on a Windows Japanese version.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:01 AM on April 7, 2014

It should be possible to change the language settings from Japanese to English for both Windows and Office. You might need to download a "language pack". Here are some instructions, covering how to change the language for both Windows and Office:

If you do reinstall Windows, you may lose the software that is currently on the computer. (I'm not very up to date with Windows, so there may be an upgrade-without-reinstalling option that I'm not aware of; however, a few years ago that was not possible.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:11 AM on April 7, 2014

Just a note, you cannot do an in-place upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1. If you want to upgrade in-place, you should upgrade to Windows 8 and then download the free 8.1 update.
posted by Aleyn at 4:43 PM on April 7, 2014

Response by poster: Hey sorry to threadsit, but in regards to some of the previous answers, as far as I can tell you most definitely CANNOT change the language settings from Japanese to English, unless you have windows 7 Premium or Windows 7 Enterprise. The other versions don't allow you to change the entire system language without doing an upgrade.

If I am mistaken on this definitely feel free to correct me, but having tried to switch the system language already, and having searched around the internets, I'm pretty sure it's not possible with the version of Windows we have.

We were going to just upgrade from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Enterprise to allow the language switch but couldn't find the option to purchase Windows 7 Enterprise from the Microsoft store anymore, hence the upgrade to Windows 8.

Did not know about not being able to go directly from 7 to 8.1 though, so thanks for the tip, saved me a lot of hassle.
posted by tokaidanshi at 6:26 PM on April 7, 2014

Windows 7 Enterprise is not available through retail channels; you'd need to purchase it as part of a volume licensing deal from Microsoft. Upgrading to Windows 7 Ultimate would be your only option for switching language packs in place on Windows 7 if you are purchasing retail. If you want to go this route, I'd first try using the anytime upgrade system to upgrade your copy of Windows 7 Professional directly. If that doesn't work, you'll need to find a distributor with copies still available; either Full or Upgrade versions should be fine, but do not get an OEM or System Builder copy; they cannot be used to do in-place upgrade.

However, if you upgrade to Windows 8 first, it looks like language packs are available for all versions of Windows 8, so you could change the language after the upgrade if you'd like.
posted by Aleyn at 5:46 PM on April 9, 2014

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